Sports

The mixed Cardiff City player ratings as Alex Smithies and substitutes dazzle but others frustrate as Wembley dream is over

Cardiff City agonisingly missed out on the Championship play-off final by one goal after earning a valiant 2-1 victory at Craven Cottage.

The second leg ended 3-2 to Fulham on aggregate, ending the Bluebirds’ Wembley dream.

Here’s how every Cardiff player rated at Craven Cottage:

Alex Smithies 8 (star man)

Made a terrific save to paw away a couple of efforts from Anthony Knockaert. In the second half he also parried away a dangerous Aboubakar Kamara shot. Excellent display.

Leandro Bacuna 4

A poor evening for the right back. Allowed Kebano in front of him for the Fulham goal and struggled against the tricky Joe Bryan running at him.

Sean Morrison 7

Made an incredible, goal-saving tackle to deny Bobby Decordova-Reid. Also proved a real threat from the City set piece.

Curtis Nelson 7

Powered the Bluebirds ahead with an excellent header early on. Did a decent job in the air defensively, too. One of the finds of the season.

Joe Bennett 6

Couldn’t really get the better of his opposite number Cyrus Christie in attack, but thwarted a few Anthony Knockart efforts.

Marlon Pack 5

A better showing than the other night at Cardiff City Stadium, but the Bluebirds needed far more attacking endeavour from midfield.

Will Vaulks 7

Was extremely combative in the middle of the park and was one of the loudest on the pitch. Provided much-needed energy. Had an incredible volley tipped over, too.

Josh Murphy 4

Barely got a foot on the ball in the first half. Missed a gilt-edged chance in the second half when he was found by Mendez-Laing at the far post. Needed more from him.

Joe Ralls 7

A relatively quiet start to the evening for him, but grew into the game after the break and they needed his legs in midfield.

Junior Hoilett 6

Looked Cardiff’s most dangerous player in the first half and created a number of crossing opportunities. Hooked at half-time.

Danny Ward 6

The early City game plan didn’t really suit him and was left to feed off scraps for the most part. Had one effort on goal but lashed it over the bar.

SUBS

Lee Tomlin (on for Pack 46) 7

Hammered City back in front with an emphatic volley, just provided that spark when City needed it. Heart-wrenching he had to come off late on due to injury.

Mendez-Laing (on for Hoilett) 7

Powered the header at goal which forced Rodak to parry it into the path of Tomlin. Added a real threat to the Bluebirds attack down the right, carving out a number of chances.

Callum Paterson (on for Ward 81) 6

Did what he does best, tried to unsettle the defence and win the ball in the air.

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Gavin Whyte (on for Tomlin 84) NA

Wasn’t on long enough to give him a fair rating.

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